How to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy?
SEO is not just about the rankings your website achieves in the search results.
It is also about generating quality traffic that will convert easily once the visitor arrives on the site.
To get quality traffic, you need to analyze a set of data and set a targeted action plan which may enable you to achieve your goal.
Furthermore, SEO requires a continuous effort because the search engines’ algorithms develop every day, new research habits appear and competitors are increasingly numerous.
To successfully optimize your website, make it reach top rankings and especially maintain its position, it is essential to continue working and always be ready to keep up with the IT and marketing news, while working on your reputation.
Monitoring involves keeping an eye on the performance of your SEO actions.
In SEO, just like in marketing, it is very important to constantly analyze thekey performance indicators (Key Performance Indicator : KPI) to determine how your website is ranking relative to its competitors also trying to identify the weak points of your website to bring the appropriate adjustments.
In this article we will present the key performance indicators - KPIs to follow in order to assess the effectiveness of its SEO strategy.
This section will allow you to establish a dashboard to measure your SEO performance.
SEO KPI: Ranking monitoring.
You have defined a list of keywords with which you have optimized your website and now that the optimizations are implemented, you want to know what rankings your pages have achieved and how they advance in the SERPS.
To measure the strategic keywords’ rankings in the SERPS, there are several possibilities:
Manual ranking tracking
You can manually check the keywords by yourself and follow the rankings of your pages.
This method is useful if you have a limited list of keywords or you have a very tight budget.
To make sure the manual rankings are accurate and efficient, you should:
- make sure you check rankings regularly,
- research with a private browsing,
- or use a browser that you do not normally use (to avoid the search history)li>
- or use an anonymous browsing network as TOR.
2)Automatical ranking check.
The rank tracking SEO tools allow you to check for dozens of keywords automatically. These tools also measure the changing positions over time and saves valuable time, provided you have the budget to buy a license.
There are many free and paid tools on the market. Our favorite tools are Myposeo and Ranks.
SEO Performance Analysis on Google Webmaster Tools
Another free way to monitor the rankings of targeted keywords is to use the Google Search Console account (formerly known as Google Webmastertools).
Google Search Console is a free official tool that all webmasters need to activate for the wealth of information it provides on websites’ SEO.
The way to access Google Search Console: Google search console > Search Trafic > Research Analysis.
This section will show you how to measure your keywords’ performance in Google search. You can filter and compare results to refine the data.
The data to include in your SEO Performance Monitoring Dashboard are :
- The requests (keywords),
- The clicks,
- The impressions (the number of times a website is shown on a search result page),
- The rankings for each keyword.
These KPIs may provide the answers to several important questions we all ask ourselves:
- si Google correctly understands the content of your website which appears in the SERPS for queries related to your business,
- What are the keywords for which your website is displayed the most,
- Which keywords bring more traffic,
- Identify performance drops.
Measuring SEO performance in Google Analytics.
To check your rankings via Google Analytics there are two possibilities depending on the settings of your account :
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are synchronized.
If you sync your Google Analytics and Google Webmastertools accounts, then you will have access to interesting information that can feed your SEO performance monitoring dashboard.
PATH : Google Analytics > Aquisition > SEO Optimization > Queries.
In this section, you will get the KPIs on the queries, the number of impressions, clicks, average rankings, click rate.
Separate Google Analytics and Google Search console accounts
When it comes to the traffic coming from AdWords (paid traffic), you can accurately measure the performance of the keywords that were purchased, clicked on and which converted once on the website.
In SEO, this data is difficult to obtain if you have not merged your Google Accounts.
However, there is a tab that is accessible to you.
Path: Aquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Organic Search.
In this section you will find a list of keywords that Internet users have typed to land on your website. This is not an exhaustive list of searched keywords since the list is grouped under « NOT PROVIDED » or « NOT DEFINED ».
Customers who conducted researches while logged into their Gmail account will find themselves under this label, to preserve their anonymity.
SEO KPI : The Engagement.
Bounce rate, to measure SEO performance.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a single webpage that haven’t visited any other page on the site, that is to say, the user which visits one page and leaves without visiting other pages.
The content and the value of a blog is different from that of an e-commerce website, which is also different from a corporate website. The "optimal" bounce rate varies depending on the type of website and the type of content offered.
Here is a list of average bounce rate references for different types of content :
- Conversion pages (landing page) : 70-90%
- Content websites : 40-60%
- Blogs 70-98%
- E-commerce websites: 20-40%
- Services websites: 10-30%
Bounce rate is an indicator for search engines about the website's relevance to the query searched by the user.
To be analyzed for its value, bounce rate must be related to the time spent on the page.
Data concerning interest and interaction to measure SEO performance.
PATH : Google Analytics > Audience > Behaviour > Interest and interaction
A good SEO will pay particular attention to the number of sessions and page views.
The number of sessions indicates the total number of visits recorded on the website over a given period of time.
The number of page views indicates the total number of pages viewed during the analyzed period.
In the Interest and Interaction tab you can view the most popular pages, i.e. those that generate the most interaction on the website. In this section, you will also identify which pages are least popular, those from which users leave the website and thus need optimization.
The Conversions to measure SEO performance
Google Analytics allows you to create goals, a particularly useful feature for e-commerce sites, for example.
PATH : Google Analytics > Admin > choose the account, the property concerned and the view
For e-commerce websites, a conversion can be transformed in objective for the shopping carts, purchases, registration, contact requests or calls... it all depends on what you offer on your website.
If you have an e-commerce site, you certainly want to know which is the biggest source of traffic, what is the most profitable page and how to generate more revenue.
Google Analytics and other traffic monitoring tools (free or paid) allow you to do this analysis.
SEO KPI : Content
A complex analysis combining data from Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools give you an idea of the quality of traffic.
If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you have access to numerous KPIs essential to the SEO: the number of pages indexed by Google, key phrases and pages that have generated visits on the site. You can also analyze the performance of your website according to the type of research and device (fixe, mobile).
Landing pages to measure SEO performance
PATH : Google Analytics > Behaviour > Website content > Landing Pages
To determine if the keywords you are targeting have generated quality traffic to the website, you can also monitor the natural traffic that comes from these pages.
Your goal is to identify the pages that generate the most traffic. Are these the pages you want to highlight? How are the new pages?...
Zoom on the content
PATH : Google Analytics > Behaviour> Web Content > Detailed URLs
To mesure the performance of your pages’ SEO, you must identify the pages that have generated the most traffic and interaction and especially those that have generated the least traffic.
Zooming on the content allows you to:
- Monitor the performance of the optimized pages,
- Check the newly added pages,
- Identify the pages that do not perform well and need optimization,
- Analyze the interest for the content of each page,
For a better understanding of the results of your marketing strategy, the traffic from social media should also be thoroughly analyzed. It is possible to measure the social interaction in Google Analytics, but social media platforms have their own analytical tools that can be very effective.
On Facebook the key data to consider are generally: Page Likes, Shares, Impressions, Engaged Users.
On Twitter, you can focus on understanding and monitoring the following indicators : followers, Impressions, Engagement rate, Retweets.
PATH : Google Analytics > Aquisition > Social Networks.
In this tab, you can see where visitors are coming from, what content generated the most engagement and which website pages they continue to visit. This will show you the most popular content in order to adapt your content and marketing strategy.
Also, if you have set up conversion tracking, you will be able to identify the social network that generates the highest revenue.